Dec 27, 2008

World - CIA warns of nuclear war in subcontinent

Amir Mir

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has warned the Bush administration of a possible nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

The turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan could spill over into Jammu & Kashmir, prompting Indian leaders to take aggressive and retaliatory action, according to the CIA.

In assessing the security situation in the region, a CIA report observed: "Continued turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan will spill over into Kashmir and other areas of the subcontinent, prompting Indian leaders to take more aggressive pre-emptive and retaliatory actions.

"India's conventional military advantage over Pakistan will widen as a result of New Delhi's superior economic position… Changing military capabilities will be prominent among the factors that determine the risk of war."

The report, titled Global Trends 2015, which is now available with Pakistan's interior affairs ministry, further observed: "India most likely will expand the size of its nuclear-capable force. Islamabad has publicly claimed that the number of nuclear weapons/missiles it deploys will be independent of the size of India's arsenal. But a noticeable increase in the size of the Indian arsenal will prompt Pakistan to further increase the size of its arsenal."

On Pakistan's economic woes, the CIA said: "Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement. Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and Islamic parties."

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